Toxic shock syndrome threatens with forgotten tampon
It's been a year since Sara Manitoski died of Toxic Shock Syndrome on a school trip. Now an autopsy showed that the suspicion was confirmed. Lack of hygiene was to blame because the tampon was not changed in time. This is what women should pay attention to when using a tampon.
Regular changing of tampons and bandages is part of proper intimate hygiene during menstruation. If tampons remain in the vagina for too long, experts may even face life-threatening dangers, such as the so-called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). However, other experts doubt that the hygiene products are actually to blame. After all, men and children can also get sick.
Serious damage to health due to tampon
Around six years ago, former Vogue model Lauren Wasser was found lying face down on the bedroom floor. She was taken to a hospital with a very high fever. At that time, her organs were about to fail. She also had a severe heart attack. The doctors tried to reactivate their limbs with oxygen therapy, since gangrene in the hands and feet had not been perfused. The patient was put into an artificial coma. Her right leg had to be amputated from the knee down. The cause was a tampon - it was said at the time. But some experts now doubt this connection.
Model loses second leg
For the US model, her life changed suddenly after she suffered a life-threatening Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) in 2012 due to a tampon. Her life was barely saved. Amputation of her right lower leg was also required.
A few weeks ago it was reported that she also lost her second leg due to late complications. Her TSS is due to a tampon that had stayed in the vagina for too long.
Colloquially, TSS is also called "tampon disease". It is an infectious disease with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.
Theoretically, the bacteria can penetrate the body through any wound, but according to experts, the pathogens often get into the organism via tampons, especially if they stay in the body for too long.
In addition to high fever, typical symptoms include headache, dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, a rash, as well as muscle pain, nausea and diarrhea.
If there are symptoms, a doctor should be consulted quickly. Infection can lead to severe circulatory and organ failure.
Although the disease occurs extremely rarely with one case per 200,000 inhabitants, it can be fatal, as the case of 13-year-old Jemma-Louise Roberts from Great Britain showed. The Greater Manchester girl died of toxic shock syndrome two and a half years ago.
Criticism of tampon manufacturers
Lauren Wasser said in an earlier interview with Vice magazine that she would never have used a tampon if she had been fully aware of the risk of TSS.
She blames the wrong tampon material and lack of information to ensure that thousands of women suffer a TSS every year.
“The problem has been known for 30 years. At that time there was a real TSS epidemic in the country, and many processes. But the hygiene industry didn't do anything about it, ”accused her lawyer, Hunter J. Shkolnik, in 2015.
According to some experts, tampons made from 100 percent cotton would pose a significantly lower risk. The majority of producers - also in Germany - use a mix of viscose fiber and cotton, or pure viscose.
Other experts see the criticism of the hygiene article manufacturers as inappropriate.
Children and men can also get sick
For example, the professional association of gynecologists (BVF) on the portal "gynecologists online" points out that the risk of developing a toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is extremely low when using tampons.
“Toxic shock syndrome is more often non-menstrual than in connection with menstruation. It also affects more children and men than women, ”write the doctors.
"The clinical picture is therefore in no way limited to menstruating women, but can occur in practically all life situations and in various clinical pictures (including abscesses, nasal and sinus diseases, skin and mucous membrane infections, burns, influenza, etc.)," it continues.
According to the experts, there are only a few cases from the past in which the disease has also been linked to the use of tampons.
Connection with menstruation
Prof. Werner Mendling, head of the German Center for Infections in Gynecology and Obstetrics in Wuppertal, also commented critically.
“In fact, apparently girls and women between the ages of 10 and 50, especially teenagers, are the most likely to suffer from toxic shock syndrome. This finding suggests that there is a connection with menstruation, ”said the expert. However, this connection still needs to be researched.
"There were numerous TSS cases in the United States in the 1980s after the manufacturer Procter & Gamble launched a tampon with a super absorbent plastic absorbent," said Mendling.
The infection was first described at that time and was nicknamed "tampon disease". However, the super absorbent products quickly disappeared from the market.
Since then, the recommendation that the smallest possible tampon size should always be chosen and changed as often as possible, said BVF President Christian Albring.
It is not yet known how long it takes for the dangerous germs in the vagina to be so numerous that a blood infection occurs. "In general, hygiene products such as tampons should remain in the body for a maximum of eight hours overnight," says the gynecologist.
Menstrual pads are generally associated with a lower risk with regard to TSS. Women who preferred tampons should always keep their hands clean and the packaging of the products undamaged. (sb)